PART I - The Rising Tide of Color
YELLOW MAN'S LAND
YELLOW MAN'S LAND is the Far East. Here the group of kindred stocks usually termed Mongolian have dwelt for unnumbered ages. Down to the most recent times the yellows lived virtually a life apart. Sundered from the rest of mankind by stupendous mountains, burning deserts, and the illimitable ocean, the Far East constituted a world in itself, living its own life and developing its own peculiar civilization. Only the wild nomads of its northern marches-Huns, Mongols, Tartars, and the like-succeeded in gaining direct contact with the brown and white worlds to the West.
The ethnic focus of the yellow world has always been China. Since the dawn of history this immense human ganglion has been the centre from which civilization has radiated throughout the Far East. About this "Middle Kingdom," as it sapiently styled itself, the other yellow folk were disposed-Japanese and Koreans to the east; Siamese, Annamites, and Cambodians to the south; and to the north the nomad Mongols and Manchus. To all these peoples China was the august preceptor, sometimes chastising their presumption, yet always instilling the principles of its ordered civilization. However diverse may have been the individual developments of the various Far Eastern peoples, they spring from a common Chinese foundation. Despite modern Japan's meteoric rise to political mastery of the Far East, it must not be forgotten that China remains not only the cultural but also the territorial and racial centre of the yellow world. Four-fifths of the yellow race is concentrated in China, there being nearly 400,000,000 Chinese as against 60,000,000 Japanese, 16,000,000 Koreans, 26,000,000 Indo-Chinese, and perhaps 10,000,000 people of non-Chinese stocks included within China's political frontiers.
The age-long seclusion of the yellow world, first decreed by nature, was subsequently maintained by the voluntary decision of the yellow peoples themselves. The great expansive movement of the white race which began four centuries ago soon brought white men to the Far East, by sea in the persons of the Portuguese navigators and by land with the Cossack adventurers ranging through the empty spaces of Siberia. Yet after a brief acquaintance with the white strangers the yellow world decided that it wanted none of them, and they were rigidly excluded. This exclusion policy was not a Chinese peculiarity; it was common to all the yellow peoples and was adopted spontaneously at about the same time. In China, Japan, Korea, and Indo-China, the same reaction produced the same results. The yellow world instinctively felt the white man to be a destructive, dissolving influence on its highly specialized line of evolution, which it wished to maintain unaltered. For three centuries the yellow world succeeded in maintaining its isolation, then, in the middle of the last century, insistent white pressure broke down the barriers and forced the yellow races into full contact with the outer world.
At the moment, the "opening" of the Far East was hailed by white men with general approval, but of late years many white observers have regretted this forcible dragging of reluctant races into the full stream of world affairs. As an Australian writer, J. Liddell Kelly, remarks: "We have erred grievously by prematurely forcing ourselves upon Asiatic races. The instinct of the Asiatic in desiring isolation and separation from other forms of civilization was much more correct than our craze for imposing our forms of religion, morals, and industrialism upon them. It is not race-hatred, nor even race-antagonism, that is at the root of this attitude; it is an unerring intuition, which in years gone by has taught the Asiatic that his evolution in the scale of civilization could best be accomplished by his being allowed to develop on his own lines. Pernicious European compulsion has led him to abandon that attitude. Let us not be ashamed to confess that he was right and we were wrong." (J. Liddell Kelly, "What is the Matter with the Asiatic?" Westminister Review, September, 1910.)
However, rightly or wrongly, the deed was done, and the yellow races, forced into the world-arena, proceeded to adapt themselves to their new political environment and to learn the correct methods of survival under the strenuous conditions which there prevailed. In place of their traditional equilibrated, self-sufficient order, the yellow peoples now felt the ubiquitous impacts of the dynamic Western spirit, insistent upon rapid material progress and forceful, expansive evolution. Japan was the first yellow people to go methodically to the white man's school, and Japan's rapid acquirement of the white man's technology soon showed itself in dramatic demonstrations like her military triumphs over China in 1894, and over Russia a decade later.
Japan's easy victory over huge China astounded the whole world. That those "highly intelligent children," as one of the early British ministers to Japan had characterized them, should have so rapidly acquired the technique of Western methods was almost unbelievable. Indeed, the full significance of the lesson was not immediately grasped, and the power of New Japan was still underestimated. A good example of Europe's underestimation of Japanese strength was the proposal a Dutch writer made in 1896 to curb possible Japanese aggression on the Dutch Indies by taking from Japan the island of Formosa which Japan had acquired from China as one of the fruits of victory. "Holland," asserted this writer, "must take possession of Formosa." (Professor Schlegel in the Hague Dagblad. Quoted from The Literary Digest., November 7, 1896, p. 24.) The grotesqueness of this dictum as it appears to us in the light of subsequent history shows how the world has moved in twenty-five years.
But even at that time Japan's expansionist tendencies were well developed, and voices were warning against Japanese imperialism. In the very month when our Hollander was advocating a Dutch seizure of Formosa, an Australian wrote the following lines in a Melbourne newspaper concerning his recent travels in Japan: "While in a car with several Japanese officers, they were conversing about Australia, saying that it was a fine, large country, with great forests and excellent soil for the cultivation of rice and other products. The whites settled in Australia, so thought these officers, are like the dog in the manger. Some one will have to take a good part of Australia to develop it, for it is a pity to see so fine a country lying waste. If any ill-feeling arose between the two countries, it would be a wise thing to send some battleships to Australia and annex part of it." (Audley Coote in the Melbourne Argus. Quoted from The Literary Digest, November 7, 1896, p. 24.)
Whatever may have been the world's misreading of the Chino-Japanese conflict, the same cannot be said of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. The echoes of that yellow triumph over one of the great white Powers reverberated to the ends of the earth and started obscure trains of consequences even to-day not yet fully disclosed. The war's reactions in these remoter fields will be discussed in later chapters. Its effect upon the Far East is our present concern. And the well-nigh unanimous opinion of both natives and resident Europeans was that the war signified a body-blow to white ascendancy. So profound an English student of the Orient as Meredith Townsend wrote: "It may be taken as certain that the victory of Japan will be profoundly felt by the majority of European states. With the exception of Austria, all European countries have implicated themselves in the great effort to conquer Asia, which has now been going on for two centuries, but which, as this author thinks must now terminate.... The disposition, therefore, to edge out intrusive Europeans from their Asiatic possessions is certain to exist even if it is not manifested in Tokyo and it may be fostered by a movement of which, as yet, but little has been said. No one who has ever studied the question doubts that as there is a comity of Europe, so there is a comity of Asia, a disposition to believe that Asia belongs of right to Asiatics, and that any event which brings that right nearer to realization is to all Asiatics a pleasurable one. Japanese victories will give new heart and energy to all the Asiatic nations and tribes which now fret under European rule, will inspire in them a new confidence in their own power to resist, and will spread through them a strong impulse to avail themselves of Japanese instruction. It will take, of course, many years to bring this new force into play; but time matters nothing to Asiatics, and they all possess that capacity for complete secrecy which the Japanese displayed." (Meredith Townsend, "Asia and Europe" (fourth edition, 1911). From the preface to the fourth edition pages xvii-xix.)
That Meredith Townsend was reading the Asiatic mind aright seems clear from the pronouncements of Orientals themselves. For example, BUDDHISM, of Rangoon, Burma, a country of the Indo-Chinese borderland between the yellow and brown worlds, expressed hopes for an Oriental alliance against the whites. "It would, we think," said this paper, "be no great wonder if a few years after the conclusion of this war saw the completion of a defensive alliance between Japan, China, and not impossibly Siam-the formulation of a new Monroe Doctrine for the Far East, guaranteeing the integrity of existing states against further aggression from the West. The West has justified-perhaps with some reason - every aggression on weaker races by the doctrine of the Survival of the Fittest; on the ground that it is best for future humanity that the unfit should be eliminated and give place to the most able race. That doctrine applies equally well to any possible struggle between Aryan and Mongolian-whichever survives, should it ever come to a struggle between the two for world-mastery, will, on their own doctrine, be the one most fit to do so, and if the survivor be the Mongolian, then is the Mongolian no 'peril' to humanity, but the better part of it." (Quoted from The American Review of Reviews, February, 1905, p. 219.)
The decade which elapsed between the Russo-Japanese and European Wars saw in the Far East another event of the first magnitude: the Chinese Revolution of 1911. Toward the close of the nineteenth century the world had been earnestly discussing the " break-up " of China. The huge empire, with its 400,000,000 of people, one-fourth the entire human race, seemed at that time plunged in so hopeless a lethargy as to be foredoomed to speedy ruin. About the apparently moribund carcass the eagles of the earth were already gathered, planning a "partition of China" analogous to the recent partition of Africa. The partition of China, however, never came off. The prodigious moral shock of the Japanese War roused China's Èlite to the imminence of their country's peril. First attempts at reform wore blocked by the Dowager Empress, but her reactionary lurch ended in the Boxer nightmare and the frightful Occidental chastisement of 1900. This time the lesson was learned. China was at last shaken broad awake. The Bourbon Manchu court, it is true, wavered, but popular pressure forced it to keep the upward path. Every year after 1900 saw increasingly rapid reform - reform, be it noted, not imposed upon the country from above but forced upon the rulers from below. When the slow-footed Manchus showed themselves congenitally incapable of keeping step with the quickening national pace, the rising tide of national life overwhelmed them in the Republican Revolution of 1911, and they were no more.
Even with the Manchu handicap, the rate of progress during those years was such as to amaze the wisest foreign observers. "Could the sage, Confucius, have returned a decade ago," wrote that "old China hand," W. R. Manning, in 1910, "he would have felt almost as much at home as when he departed twenty-five centuries before. Should he return a decade hence he will feel almost as much out of place as Rip Van Winkle if the recent rate of progress continues." (W. R. Manning, "China and the Powers since the Boxer Movement, American Journal of International Law, October, 1910.) Toward the close of 1909 a close student of things Chinese, Harlan P. Beach, remarked: "Those who, like myself, can compare the China of twenty-five years ago with the China of this year, can hardly believe our senses." (Quoted by Manning, supra.) It was on top of all this that there came the revolution, a happening hailed by so sophisticated an observer as Doctor Dillon as "the most momentous event in a thousand years." (E. J. Dillon, "The Most Momentous Event in a Thousand Years," Contemporary Review, December, 1911.) Whatever may have been the political blunders of the revolutionists (and they were many), the revolution's moral results wore stupendous. The stream of Western innovation flowed at a vastly accelerated pace into every Chinese province. The popular masses wore for the first time awakened to genuine interest in political, as distinguished from economic or personal, questions. Lastly, the semi-religlous feeling of family kinship, which in the past had been almost the sole recognized bond of Chinese race solidarity, was powerfully supplemented by those distinctively modern concepts, national self-consciousness and articulate patriotism.
Here was the Far Eastern situation at the outbreak of the Great War - a thoroughly modernized, powerful Japan, and a thoroughly aroused, but still disorganized, China. The Great War automatically made Japan supreme in the Far East by temporarily reducing all the European Powers to ciphers in Oriental affairs. How Japan proceeded to buttress this supremacy by getting a strangle-hold on China, every one knows. Japan's methods were brutal and cynical, though not a whit more so than the methods employed by white nations seeking to attain vital ends. And "vital" is precisely how Japan regards her hold over China. An essentially poor country with a teeming population, Japan feels that the exploitation of China's incalculable natural resources, a privileged position in the Chinese market, and guidance of Chinese national evolution in ways not inimical to Japan, can alone assure her future.
Japan's attitude toward her huge neighbor is one of mingled superiority and apprehension. She banks on China's traditional pacifism, yet she is too shrewd not to realize the explosive possibilities latent in the modern nationalist idea. As a Japanese publicist, Adachi Kinnosuke, remarks: "The Twentieth Century Jenghiz Khan threatening the Sun-Flag with a Mongol horde armed with Krupp guns may possibly strike the Western sense of humor. But it is not altogether pleasing to contemplate a neighbor of 400,000,000 population with modern armament and soldiers trained on the modern plan. The awakening of China means all this and a little more which we of the present are not sure of. Japan cannot forget that between this nightmare of armed China and herself there is only a very narrow sea." (Adachi Kinnosuke, "Does Japanese Trade Endanger the Peace of Asia? World's Work, April, 1909.) Certainly, "Young China" has already displayed much of that unpleasant ebullience which usually accompanies nationalist awakenings. A French observer, Jean Rodes, writes on this point: "One of the things that most disquiet thinking men is that this new generation, completely neglecting Chinese studies while knowing nothing of Western science, yet convinced that it knows everything, will no longer possess any standard of values, national culture, or foreign culture. We can only await with apprehension the results of such ignorance united with unbounded pride as characterize the Chinese youth of to-day." (Jean Rodes in L'Asie FranÁaise, June, 1911.)
And another French observer, RenÈ Pinon, as far back as 1905, found the primary school children of Kiang-Su province chanting the following lines: "I pray that the frontiers of my country become hard as bronze; that it surpass Europe and America; that it subjugate Japan; that its land and sea armies cover themselves with resplendent glory: that over the whole earth float the Dragon Standard; that the universal mastery of the empire extend and progress. May our empire, like a sleeping tiger suddenly awakened, spring roaring into the arena of combats." (RenÈ Pinon, "La Lutte pour le Pacifique," p. 152 (Paris, 1906).)
Japan's masterful policy in China is thus unquestionably hazardous. Chinese national feeling is today genuinely aroused against Japan, and resentment over Japanese encroachments is bitter and wide-spread. Nevertheless, Japan feels that the game is worth the risk and believes that both Chinese race-psychology and the general drift of world affairs combine to favor her ultimate success. She knows that China has in the past always acquiesced in foreign domination when resistance has proved patently impossible. She also feels that her aspirations for white expulsion from the Far East and for the winning of wider spheres for racial expansion should appeal strongly to yellow peoples generally and to the Chinese in particular. To turn China's nascent nationalism into purely anti-white channels and to transmute Chinese patriotism into a wider "Pan-Mongolism" would constitute a Japanese triumph of incalculable splendor. It would increase her effective force manyfold and would open up almost limitless vistas of power and glory.
Nor are the Chinese themselves blind to the advantages of Chino-Japanese co-operation. They have an instinctive assurance in their own capacities, they know how they have ultimately digested all their conquerors, and many Chinese to-day think that from a Chino-Japanese partnership, no matter how framed, the inscrutable "Sons of Han" would eventually get the lion's share. Certainly no one has ever denied the Chinaman's extraordinary economic efficiency. Winnowed by ages of grim elimination in a land populated to the uttermost limits of subsistence, the Chinese race is selected as no other for survival under the fiercest conditions of economic stress. At home the average Chinese lives his whole life literally within a hand's breadth of starvation. Accordingly, when removed to the easier environment of other lands, the Chinaman brings with him a working capacity which simply appalls his competitors. That urbane Celestial, Doctor Wu-Ting-Fang, well says of his own people: "Experience proves that the Chinese as all-round laborers can easily outdistance all competitors. They are industrious, intelligent, and orderly. They can work under conditions that would kill a man of less hardy race; in heat that would kill a salamander, or in cold that would please a polar bear, sustaining their energies, through long hours of unremitting toil with only a few bowls of rice." (Quoted by Alleyne Ireland, "Commercial Aspects of the Yellow Peril," North American Review, September, 1900.)
This Chinese estimate is echoed by the most competent foreign observers. The Australian thinker, Charles E. Pearson, wrote of the Chinese a generation ago in his epoch-making book, "National Life and Character": "Flexible as Jews, they can thrive on the mountain plateaux of Thibet and under the sun of Singapore; more versatile even than Jews, they are excellent laborers, and not without merit as soldiers and sailors; while they have a capacity for trade which no other nation of the East possesses. They do not need even the accident of a man of genius to develop their magnificent future." (Charles H. Pearson, "National Life and Character," p. 118 (2nd edition).)
And Lafcadio Hearn says: "A people of hundreds of millions disciplined for thousands of years to the most untiring industry and the most self-denying thrift, under conditions which would mean worse than death for our working masses -- a people, in short, quite content to strive to the uttermost in exchange for the simple privilege of life." (Quoted by Ireland, supra.)
This economic superiority of the Chinaman shows not only with other races, but with his yellow kindred as well. As regards the Japanese, John Chinaman has proved it to the hilt. Wherever the two have met in economic competition, John has won hands down. Even in Japanese colonies like Korea and Formosa, the Japanese, with all the backing of their government behind them, have been worsted. In fact, Japan itself, so bitter at white refusals to receive her emigrants, has been obliged to enact drastic exclusion laws to protect her working classes from the influx of "Chinese cheap labor." It seems, therefore, a just calculation when Chinese estimate that Japanese triumphs against white adversaries would inure largely to China's benefit. After all, Chinese and Japanese are fundamentally of the same race and culture. They may have their very bitter family quarrels, but in the last analysis they understand each other and may arrive at surprisingly sudden agreements. One thing is certain: both these over-populated lands will feel increasingly the imperious need of racial expansion. For all these reasons, then, the present political tension between China and Japan cannot be reckoned as permanent, and we would do well to envisage the possibility of close Chinese co-operation in the ambitious programme of Japanese foreign policy.
This Japanese programme looks first to the prevention of all further white encroachment in the Far East by the establishment of a Far Eastern Monroe Doctrine based on Japanese predominance and backed if possible by the moral support of the other Far Eastern peoples. The next stage in Japanese foreign policy seems to be the systematic elimination of all existing white holdings in the Far East. Thus far practically all Japanese appear to be in substantial agreement. Beyond this point lies a wide realm of aspiration ranging from determination to secure complete racial equality and freedom of immigration into white lands to imperialistic dreams of wholesale conquests and "world-dominion." These last items do not represent the united aspiration of the Japanese nation, but they are cherished by powerful circles which, owing to Japan's oligarchical system of government, possess an influence over governmental action quite disproportionate to their numbers.
Although Japanese plans and aspirations have broadened notably since 1914, their outlines were well defined a decade earlier. Immediately after her victory over Russia, Japan set herself to strengthen her influence all over eastern Asia. Special efforts were made to establish intimate relations with the other Asiatic peoples. Asiatic students were invited to attend Japanese universities and as a matter of fact did attend by the thousand, while a whole series of societies was formed having for their object the knitting of close cultural and economic ties between Japan and specific regions like China, Siam, the Pacific, and even India. The capstone was a " Pan-Asiatic Association," founded by Count Okuma. Some of the facts regarding these societies, about which too little is known, make interesting reading. For instance, there was the "Pacific Ocean Society" ("Taheijoka"), whose preamble reads in part: "For a century the Pacific Ocean has been a battle-ground wherein the nations have straggled for supremacy. To-day the prosperity or decadence of a nation depends on its power in the Pacific: to possess the empire of the Pacific is to be the Master of the World. As Japan finds itself at the centre of that Ocean, whose waves bathe its shores, it must reflect carefully and have clear views on Pacific questions." (Quoted by Scie-Ton-Fa, "La Chine et le Japon," Revue Politique Internationale, September, 1915.)
Equally interesting is the "Indo-Japanese Association," whose activities appear somewhat peculiar in view of the political alliance between Japan and the British Empire. One of the first articles of its constitution (from Count Okuma's pen, by the way) reads: "All men wore born equal. The Asiatics have the same claim to be called men as the Europeans themselves. It is therefore quite unreasonable that the latter should have any right to predominate over the former." (The Literary Digest, March 6, 1910, p. 429.) No mention is made anywhere in the document of India's political connection with England. In fact, Count Okuma, in the autumn of 1907, had this to say regarding India: "Being oppressed by the Europeans, the 300,000,000 people of India are looking for Japanese protection. They have commenced to boycott European merchandise. If, therefore, the Japanese let the chance slip by and do not go to India, the Indians will be disappointed. From old times, India has been a land of treasure. Alexander the Great obtained there treasure sufficient to load a hundred camels, and Mahmoud and Attila also obtained riches from India. Why should not the Japanese stretch out their hands toward that country, now that the people are looking to the Japanese? The Japanese ought to go to India, the South Ocean, and other parts of the world." (The Literary Digest, January 18, 1908, p. 81.)
In 1910, Putnam Weale, a competent English student of Oriental affairs asserted: "It can no longer be doubted that a very deliberate policy is certainly being quietly and cleverly pursued. Despite all denials, it is a fact that Japan has already a great hold in the schools and in the vernacular newspapers all over eastern Asia, and that the gospel of 'Asia for the Asiatics' is being steadily preached not only by her schoolmasters and her editors, but by her merchants and peddlers, and every other man who travels." (B. L. Putnam Weale, "The Conflict of Color," pp. 145-6 (New York, 1910).)
Exactly how much these Japanese propagandist efforts accomplished is impossible to say. Certain it is, however, that during the years just previous to the Great War the white colonies in the Far East were afflicted with considerable native unrest. In French Indo-China, for example, revolutionary movements during the year 1908 necessitated reinforcing the French garrison by nearly 10,000 men, and though the disturbances were sternly repressed, fresh conspiracies were discovered in 1911 and 1913. Much sedition and some sharp fighting also took place in the Dutch Indies, while in the Philippines the independence movement continued to gain ground.
What the growing self-consciousness of the Far East portended for the white man's ultimate status in those regions was indicated by an English publicist, J. D. Whelpley, who wrote, shortly after the outbreak of the European War: "With the aid of Western ideas the Far East is fast attaining a solidarity impossible under purely Oriental methods. The smug satisfaction expressed in the West at what is called the 'modernization' of the East shows lack of wisdom or an ineffective grasp of the meaning of comparatively recent events in Japan, China, eastern Siberia, and even in the Philippines. In years past the solidarity of the Far East was largely in point of view, while in other matters the powerful nations of the West played the game according to their own rules. To-day the solidarity of mental outlook still maintains, while in addition there is rapidly coming about a solidarity of political and material interests which in time will reduce Western participation in Far Eastern affairs to that of a comparatively unimportant factor. It might truly be said that this point is already reached, and that it only needs an application of the test to prove to the world that the Far East would resent Western interference as an intolerable impertinence." (J. D. Whelpley, "East and West: A New Line of Cleavage," Fortnightly Review, May, 1915.)
The scope of Japan's aspirations, together with differences of outlook between various sections of Japanese public opinion as to the rate of progress feasible for Japanese expansion, account for Japan's differing attitudes toward the white Powers. Officially, the keystone of Japan's foreign policy since the beginning of the present century has been the alliance with England, first negotiated in 1902 and renewed with extensive modifications in 1911. The 1902 alliance was universally popular in Japan. It was directed specifically against Russia and represented the common apprehensions of both the contracting parties. By 1911, however, the situation had radically altered. Japan's aspirations in the Far East, particularly as regards China, were arousing wide-spread uneasiness in many quarters, and the English communities in the Far East generally condemned the new alliance as a gross blunder of British diplomacy. In Japan also there was considerable protest. The official organs, to be sure, stressed the necessity of friendship with the Mistress of the Seas for an island empire like Japan, but opposition circles pointed to England's practical refusal to be drawn into a war with the United States under any circumstances which constituted the outstanding feature of the new treaty and declared that Japan was giving much and receiving nothing in return.
The growing divergence between Japanese and English views regarding China increased anti-English feeling, and in 1912 the semi-official Japan Magazine asserted roundly that the general feeling in Japan was that the alliance was a detriment rather than a benefit going on to forecast a possible alignment with Russia and Germany, and remarking of the latter: "Germany's healthy imperialism and scientific development would have a wholesome effect upon our nation and progress, while the German habit of perseverance and frugality is just what we need. German wealth and industry are gradually creeping upward to that of Great Britain and America, and the efficiency of the German army and navy is a model for the world. Her lease of the territory of Kiaochow Bay brings her into contact with us, and her ambition to exploit the coal-mines of Shantung lends her a community of interest with us. It is not too much to say that German interests in China are greater than those of any other European Power. If the alliance with England should ever be abrogated, we might be very glad to shake hands with Germany." (The Literary Digest, July 6, 1912, p. 9.)
The outbreak of the European War gave Japan a golden opportunity (of which she was not slow to take advantage) to eliminate one of the white Powers from the Far East. The German stronghold of Kiaochow was promptly reduced, while Germany's possessions in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator, the Caroline, Pelew, Marianne, and Marshall island-groups, wore likewise occupied by Japanese forces. Here Japan stopped and politely declined all proposals to send armies to Europe or western Asia. Her sphere was the Far East; her real objectives were the reduction of white influence there and the riveting of her control over China. Japanese comment was perfectly candid on these matters. As the semi-official Japanese Colonial Journal put it in the autumn of 1914: "To protect Chinese territory, Japan is ready to fight no matter what nation. Not only will Japan try to erase the ambitions of Russia and Germany; it will also do its best to prevent England and the United States from touching the Chinese cake. The solution of the Chinese problem is of great importance for Japan, and Great Britain has little to do with it." (Quoted by Scie-Ton-Fa, supra.)
Equally frank were Japanese warnings to the English ally not to oppose Japan's progress in China. English criticism of the series of ultimatums by which Japan forced reluctant China to do her bidding roused angry admonitions like the following from the Tokio Universe in April, 1915: "Hostile English opinion seems to want to oppose Japanese demands in China. The English forget that Japan has, by her alliance, rendered them signal services against Russia in 1905 and in the present war by assuring security in their colonies of the Pacific and the Far East. If Japan allied herself with England, it was with the object of establishing Japanese preponderance in China and against the encroachments of Russia. To-day the English seem to be neglecting their obligations toward Japan by not supporting her cause. Let England beware! Japan will tolerate no wavering; she is quite ready to abandon the Anglo-Japanese alliance and turn to Russia-a Power with whom she can agree perfectly regarding Far Eastern interests. In the future, even, she is ready to draw closer to Germany. The English colonies will then be in great peril." (Quoted by Scie-Ton-Fa, supra.)
As to the imminence of a Russo-Japanese understanding, the journal just quoted proved a true prophet, for a year later, in July, 1916, the Japanese and Russian Governments signed a diplomatic instrument which amounted practically to an alliance. By this document Russia recognized Japan's paramountcy over the bulk of China, while Japan recognized Russia's special interests in China's Western dependencies, Mongolia and Turkestan. Japan had thus eliminated another of the white Powers from the Far East, since Russia renounced those ambitions to dominate China proper which had provoked the war of 1904.
Meanwhile the press campaign against England continued. A typical sample is this editorial from the Tokio Yamato: "Great Britain never wished at heart to become Japan's ally. She did not wish to enter into such intimate relations with us, for she privately regarded us as an upstart nation radically different from us in blood and religion. It was simply the force of circumstances which compelled her to enter into an alliance with us. It is the height of conceit on our part to think that England really cared for our friendship, for she never did. It was the Russian menace to India and Persia on the one hand, and the German ascendancy on the other, which compelled her to clasp our hands." (The Literary Digest, February 12, 1916, pp. 369-70.)
At the same time many good things were being said about Germany. At no time during the war was any real hostility to the Germans apparent in Japan. Germany was of course expelled from her Far Eastern footholds in smart, workmanlike fashion, but the fighting before Kiaochow was conducted without a trace of hatred, the German prisoners were treated as honored captives, and German civilians in Japan suffered no molestation. Japanese writers were very frank in stating that, once Germany resigned herself to exclusion from the Far East and acquiesced in Japanese predominance in China, no reason existed why Japan and Germany should not be good friends. Unofficial diplomatic exchanges certainly took place between the two governments during the war, and no rancor for the past appears to exist on either side to-day.
The year 1917 brought three momentous modifications into the world-situation: the entrance of the United States and China into the Great War and the Russian Revolution. The first two were intensely distasteful to Japan. The transformation of virtually unarmed America into a first-class fighting power reacted portentously upon the Far East, while China's adhesion to the Grand Alliance (bitterly opposed in Tokio) rescued her from diplomatic isolation and gave her potential friends. The Russian Revolution was also a source of perplexity to Tokio. In 1916, as we have seen, Japan had arrived at a thorough understanding with the Czarist rÈgime. The new Russian Government was an unknown quantity, acting quite differently from the old.
Russia's collapse into Bolshevist anarchy, however, presently opened up new vistas. Not merely northern Manchuria, but also the huge expanse of Siberia, an almost empty world of vast potential riches, lay temptingly exposed. At once the powerful imperialist elements m Japanese political life began clamoring for "forward" action. An opportunity far such action was soon vouchsafed by the Allied determination to send a composite force to Siberia to checkmate the machinations of the Russian Bolsheviki, now hostile to the Allies and playing into the hands of Germany. The imperialist party at Tokio took the bit in its teeth, and, in flagrant disregard of the inter-Allied agreement, poured a great army into Siberia, occupying the whole country as far west as Lake Baikal. This was in the spring of 1918. The Allies, then in their supreme death-grapple with the Germans, dared not even protest, but in the autumn, when the battle-tide had turned in Europe, Japan was called to account, the United States taking the lead in the matter. A furious debate ensued at Tokio between the imperialist and moderate parties, the hotter jingoes urging defiance of the United States even at the risk of war. Then, suddenly, came the news that Germany was cracking, and the moderates had their way. The Japanese armies in Siberia were reduced, albeit they still remained the most powerful military factor in the situation
Germany's sudden collapse and the unexpectedly quick ending of the war was a blow to Japanese hopes and plans in more ways than one. Despite official felicitations, the nation could hardly disguise its chagrin. For Japan the war had been an unmixed benefit. It had automatically made her mistress of the Far East and had amazingly enriched her economic life. Every succeeding month of hostilities had seen the white world grow weaker and had conversely increased Japanese power. Japan had counted on at least one more year of war. Small wonder that the sudden passing of this halcyon time provoked disappointment and regret.
The above outline of Japanese foreign policy reveals beneath all its surface mutations a fundamental continuity. Whatever may be its ultimate goals, Japanese foreign policy has one minimum objective: Japan as hegemon of a Far East in which white influence shall have been reduced to a vanishing quantity. That is the bald truth of the matter - and no white man has any reason for getting indignant about it. Granted that Japanese aims endanger white vested interests in the Far East. Granted that this involves rivalry and perhaps war. That is no reason for striking a moral attitude and inveighing against Japanese "wickedness," as many people are to-day doing. These mighty racial tides flow from the most elemental of vital urges: self-expansion and self-preservation. Both outward thrust of expanding life and counter-thrust of threatened life are equally normal phenomena. To condemn the former as "criminal" and the latter as "selfish" is either silly or hypocritical and tends to envenom with unnecessary rancor what objective fairness might keep a candid struggle, inevitable yet alleviated by mutual comprehension and respect. This is no mere plea for "sportsmanship"; it is a very practical matter. There are critical times ahead; times in which intense race-pressures will engender high tensions and perhaps wars. If men will keep open minds and will eschew the temptation to regard those opposing their desires to defend or possess respectively as impious fiends, the struggles will lose half their bitterness, and the wars (if wars there must be) will be shorn of half their ferocity.
The unexpected ending of the European War was, as we have seen, a blow to Japanese calculations. Nevertheless, the skill of her diplomats at the ensuing Versailles Conference enabled Japan to harvest most of her war gains. Japan's territorial acquisitions in China were definitely written into the peace treaty, despite China's sullen veto, and Japan's preponderance in Chinese affairs was tacitly acknowledged. Japan also took advantage of the occasion to pose as the champion of the colored races by urging the formal promulgation of "racial equality" as part of the peace settlement, especially as regards immigration. Of course the Japanese diplomats had no serious expectation of their demands being acceded to; in fact, they might have been rather embarrassed if they had succeeded, in view of Japan's own stringent laws against immigration and alien landholding. Nevertheless, it was a politic move, useful for future propagandist purposes, and it advertised Japan broadcast as the standard-bearer of the colored cause.
The notable progress that Japan has made toward the mastery of the Far East is written plainly upon the map, which strikingly portrays the broadening territorial base of Japanese power effected in the past twenty-five years. Japan now owns the whole island chain masking the eastern sea frontage of Asia, from the tip of Kamchatka to the Philippines, while her acquisition of Germany's Oceanican islands north of the equator gives her important strategic outposts in mid-Pacific. Her bridge-heads on the Asiatic continent are also strong and well located. From the Korean peninsula (now an integral part of Japan) she firmly grasps the vast Chinese dependency of Manchuria, while just south of Manchuria across the narrow waters of the Pechili strait lies the rich Chinese province of Shantung, become a Japanese sphere of influence as a result of the late war. Thus Japan holds China's capital, Peking, as in the jaws of a vice and can apply military pressure whenever she so desires. In southern China lies another Japanese sphere of influence, the province of Fukien opposite the Japanese island of Formosa. Lastly, all over China runs a veritable network of Japanese concessions like the recently acquired control of the great iron deposits near Hankow, far up the Yangtse River in the heart of China.
Whether this Japanese imperium over China maintains itself or not, one thing seems certain: future white expansion in the Far East has become impossible. Any such attempt would instantly weld together Japanese imperialism and Chinese nationalism in a "sacred union" whose result would probably be at the very least the prompt expulsion of the white man from every foothold in eastern Asia.
That is what will probably come anyway as soon as Japan and China, impelled by overcrowding and conscious of their united potentialities, shall have arrived at a genuine understanding. Since population-pressure seems to be the basic factor in the future course of Far Eastern affairs, it would be well to survey possible outlets for surplus population within the Far East itself, in order to determine how much of this race expansion can be satisfied at home, thereby diminishing, or at least postponing, acute pressure upon the political and ethnic frontiers of the white world.
To begin with, the population of Japan (approximately 60,000,000) is increasing at the rate of about 800,000 per year. China has no modern vital statistics, but the annual increase of her 400,000,000 population, at the Japanese rate, would be 6,000,000. Now the settled parts of both Japan and China may be considered as fully populated so far as agriculture is concerned, further extensive increases of population being dependent upon the rise of machine industry. Both countries have, however, thinly settled areas within their present political frontiers. Japan's northern island of Hokkaido (Yezo) has a great amount of good agricultural land as yet almost unoccupied, some of her other island possessions offer minor outlets, while Korea and Manchuria afford extensive colonizing possibilities albeit Chinese and Korean competition preclude a Japanese colonization on the scale which the size and natural wealth of these regions would at first sight seem to indicate. China has even more extensive colonizable areas. Both Mongolia and Chinese Turkestan, though largely desert, contain within their vast areas enough fertile land to support many millions of Chinese peasants as soon as modern roads and railways are built. The Chinese colonization of Manchuria is also proceeding apace, and will continue despite anything Japan may do to keep it down. Lastly, the cold but enormous plateau of Tibet offers considerable possibilities.
Allowing for all this, however, it cannot be said that either China or Japan possess within their present political frontiers territories likely to absorb those prodigious accretions of population which seem destined to occur within the next couple of generations. From the resultant congestion two avenues of escape will naturally present themselves: settlement of other portions of the Far East to-day under white political control, but inhabited by colored populations; and pressure into accessible areas not merely under white political control, but also containing white populations. It is obvious that those are two radically distinct issues, for while a white nation might not unalterably oppose Mongolian immigration into its colored dependencies, it would almost certainly fight to the limit rather than witness the racial swamping of lands settled by its own flesh and blood.
Considering the former issue, then, it would appear that virtually all the peninsulas and archipelagoes lying between China and Australia offer attractive fields for yellow, particularly Chinese, race-expansion. Ethnically they are all colored men's lands; politically they are all, save Siam under white control; Britain, France, Holland, and the United States being the titular owners of these extensive territories. So far as the native races are concerned, none of them seem to possess the vitality and economic efficiency needed to maintain themselves against unrestricted Chinese immigration. Whether in the British Straits Settlements and North Borneo, French Indo-China, the Dutch Indies, the American Philippines, or independent Siam, the Chinaman, so far as he has been allowed, has displayed his practical superiority, and in places where, like the Straits Settlements, he has been allowed a free hand, he has virtually supplanted the native stock, reducing the latter to an impotent and vanishing minority. The chief barriers to Chinese race-expansion in these regions are legal hindrances or prohibitions of immigration, and of course such barriers are in their essence artificial and liable to removal under any shift of circumstances. Many observers predict that most of these lands will ultimately become Chinese. Says Alleyne Ireland, a recognized authority on these regions: "There is every reason to suppose that, throughout the tropics, possibly excepting India, the Chinaman, even though he should continue to emigrate in no greater force than hitherto, will gradually supersede all the native races." (Alleyne Ireland, "Commercial Aspects of the Yellow Peril," North American Review, September, 1900.) Certainly, if this be true, China has here a vast outlet for her surplus population. It has been estimated that the undeveloped portions of the Dutch Indies alone are capable of supporting 100,000,000 people living on the frugal Chinese plane. Their present population is 8,000,000 semi-savages.
China's possibilities of race-expansion in the colored regions of the Far East are thus excellent. The same cannot be said, however, for Japan. The Japanese, bred in a distinctively temperate, island environment, have not the Chinese adaptability to climatic variation. The Japanese, like the white man, does not thrive in tropic heat, nor does he possess the white man's ability to resist sub-Arctic cold. Formosa is not in the real tropics, yet Japanese colonists have not done well there. On the other hand, even the far-from-Arctic winters of Hokkaido (part of the Japanese archipelago) seem too chilly for the Japanese taste.
Japan thus does not have the same vital interest as China in the Asiatic tropics. Undoubtedly they would for Japan be valuable colonies of exploitation, just as they to-day are thus valuable for white nations. But they could never furnish outlets for Japan's excess population, and even commercially Japan would be exposed to increasing Chinese competition, since the Chinaman excels the Japanese in trade as well as in migrant colonization. Japanese lack of climatic adaptability is also the reason why Japan's present military excursion in eastern Siberia, even if it should develop into permanent occupation, would yield no adequate solution of Japan's population problem. For the Chinaman, Siberia would do very well. He would breed amusingly there and would fill up the whole country in a remarkably short space of time. But the Japanese peasant, so averse to the winters of Hokkaido, would find the sub-Arctic rigors of Siberia intolerable.
Thus, for Japanese migration, neither the empty spaces of northern or southern Asia will do. The natural outlets lie outside Asia in the United States, Australasia, and the temperate parts of Latin America. But all these outlets are rigorously barred by the white man, who has marked them for his own race-heritage, and nothing but force will break those barriers down.
There lies a danger, not merely to the peace of the Far Fast, but to the peace of the world. Fired by a fervent patriotism; resolved to make their country a leader among the nations; the Japanese writhe at the constriction of their present race-bounds. Placed on the flank of the Chinese giant whose portentous growth she can accurately forecast, Japan seas herself condemned to ultimate renunciation of her grandiose ambitions unless she can somehow broaden the racial as well as the political basis of her power. In short: Japan must find lands where Japanese can breed by the tens of millions if she is not to be automatically overshadowed in course of time, even assuming that she does not suffocate or blow up from congestion before that time arrives. This is the secret of her aggressive foreign policy, her chronic imperialism, her extravagant dreams of conquest and "world-dominion."
The longing to hack a path to greatness by the samurai sword lurks ever in the back of Japanese minds. The library of Nippon's chauvinist literature is large and increasing. A good example of the earlier productions is Satori Kato's brochure entitled "Mastery of the Pacific," published in 1909. Herein the author announces confidently: "In the event of war Japan could, as if aided by a magician's wand, overrun the Pacific with fleets manned by men who have made Nelson their model and transported to the armadas of the Far East the spirit that was victorious at Trafalgar. Whether Japan avows it or not, her persistent aim is to gain the mastery of the Pacific. Although peace seems to prevail over the world at present, no one can tell how soon the nations may be engaged in war. It does not need the English alliance to secure success for Japan. That alliance may be dissolved at any moment, but Japan will suffer no defeat. Her victory will be won by her men, not by armor-plates - things weak by comparison." (The Literary Digest, November 13, 1909.)
The late war has of course greatly stimulated these bellicose emotions. Viewing their own increased power and the debilitation of the white world, Japanese jingoes glimpse prospects of glorious fishing in troubled waters. The "world-dominion" note is stressed more often than of yore. For instance, in the summer of 1919 the Tokio Hochi, Count Okuma's organ, prophesied exultantly: "That age in which the Anglo-Japanese alliance was the pivot and American-Japanese co-operation an essential factor of Japanese diplomacy is gone. In future we must not look eastward for friendship but westward. Let the Bolsheviki of Russia be put down and the more peaceful party established in power. In them Japan will find a strong ally. By marching then westward to the Balkans, to Germany, to France, and Italy, the greater part of the world may be brought under our sway. The tyranny of the Anglo-Saxons at the Peace Conference is such that it has angered both gods and men. Some may abjectly follow them in consideration of their petty interests, but things will ultimately settle down as has just been indicated." (The Literary Digest, July 5, 1919, p. 31.)
Still more striking are the following citations from a Japanese imperialist pronouncement written in the autumn of 1916:
"Fifty millions of our race wherewith to conquer and possess the earth! It is indeed a glorious problem! ...
"To begin with, we now have China; China is our steed! Far shall we ride upon her! Even as Rome rode Latium to conquer Italy, and Italy to conquer the Mediterranean; even as Napoleon rode Italy and the Rhenish States to conquer Germany, and Germany to conquer Europe; even as England to-day rides her colonies and her so-called 'allies' to conquer her robust rival, Germany - even so shall we ride China. So becomes our 50,000,000 race 500,000,000 strong; so grow our paltry hundreds of millions of gold into billions!
"How well have done our people! How well have our statesmen led them! No mistakes! There must be none now. In 1895 we conquered China - Russia, Germany, and France stole from us the booty. How has our strength grown since then - and still it grows! In ten years we punished and retook our own from Russia; in twenty years we squared and retook from Germany; with France there is no need for haste. She has already realized why we withheld the troops which alone might have driven the invader from her soil! Her fingers are clutching more tightly around her Oriental booty; yet she knows it is ours for the taking. But there is no need of haste: the world condemns the paltry thief; only the glorious conqueror wins the plaudits and approval of mankind.
"We are now well astride of our steed, China; but the steed has long roamed wild and is run down: it needs grooming, more grain, more training. Further, our saddle and bridle are as yet mere makeshifts: would steed and trappings stand the strain of war? And what would that strain be?
"As for America - that fatuous booby with much money and much sentiment, but no cohesion, no brains of government; stood she alone we should not need our China steed. Well did my friend speak the other day when he called her people a race of thieves with the hearts of rabbits. America, to any warrior race, is not as a foe, but as an immense melon, ripe for the cutting. But there are other warrior races - England, Germany - would they look on and let us slice and eat our fill? Would they?
"But, using China as our steed, should our first goal be the land? India? Or the Pacific, the sea that must be our very own, even as the Atlantic is now England's? The land is tempting and easy, but withal dangerous. Did we begin there, the coarse white races would too soon awaken, and combine, and forever immure us within our long since grown intolerable bounds. It must, therefore, be the sea; but the sea means the Western Americas and all the islands between; and with those must soon come Australia, India. And then the battling for the balance of world-power, for the rest of North America. Once that is ours, we own and control the whole - a dominion worthy of our race!
"North America alone will support a billion people; that billion shall be Japanese with their slaves. Not arid Asia, nor worn-out Europe (which, with its peculiar and quaint relics and customs should in the interests of history and culture, be in any case preserved), nor yet tropical Africa, is fit for our people. But North America, that continent so succulently green, fresh, and unsullied - except for the few chattering, mongrel Yankees - should have been ours by right of discovery: it shall be ours by the higher, nobler right of conquest." (The Military Historian and Economist, January, 1917, pp. 43-46.)
This apostle of Japanese world-dominion then goes on to discuss in detail how his programme can best be attained. It should be remembered that at the time he wrote America was still an unarmed nation, apparently ridden by pacifism. Such imperialist extravagances as the above do not represent the whole of Japan. But they do represent a powerful element in Japan, against which the white world should be forewarned.